This is a guest post by Marcin Bieniek, a professional tennis coach (you can read more about him at the end of this post). From now on, once a month Marcin will write an instructional article on Women’s Tennis Blog. If you have any special topics you’d like Marcin to cover, feel free to tell us in the comments.
It doesn’t matter at which level you actually compete, if you want to get better, you have to take care of your physical skills. Physical activity, anaerobic form of exercise, stronger bones, as well as more effective cardiovascular system are strong points of tennis as a sport, but there are also drawbacks, such as playing mostly with one hand, running for a few hours on hard concrete or using a lot of rotational movements. As with any sport, if we are aware of requirements and prepare properly, we are going to enjoy tennis for many more years.
As a professional tennis coach and former tennis player, I’m going to outline five pieces of small and light equipment that you should use on a regular basis. The best thing is, you can use these products virtually anywhere, get your fitness routine to the next level and prevent injuries!
1. Jump rope
One of the best tools for any athlete, as it can be used for different purposes. If you want to work on coordination, you can mix different footwork patterns while jumping. If you want to warm up, there is no better exercise than intense jumping. If your goal is to improve aerobic capacity, do practice with jump rope. One tool – many benefits.
2. Foam roller
A must-have for any serious athlete. This is definitely the latest fashion in athletic world. Foam roller gives you a possibility to self-massage anywhere you want. It helps your muscles recover, so you can play another great match the next day. And remember – you pay once, but you have massage forever.
Suspension trainer wasn’t designed just for tennis players, but this group will definitely benefit a lot from using it. TRX allows to strengthen your body without external loads – all you are fighting against is your body. Exercises are designed to work with most muscle groups at the same time, so you get more in less time. And let’s not forget that you have to squeeze your abs for the entire exercise to maintain proper posture, so you will definitely love your new look during the summer!
4. Resistance bands
Serve in tennis puts a lot of pressure on your shoulder. Without proper fitness routine sooner or later you will have to take a longer break to heal your damaged area. You can easily prevent this negative scenario by using resistance bands. Top players use bands not only during fitness sessions, but also before every practice, because they want to be 100% healthy when it really counts. Learn from the best!
Tennis elbow is one of the most common tennis injuries. It hurts enormously and it forces you to stop playing for a significant amount of time. To avoid this injury, you have to take care of fluid technique and proper physical preparation. Gripmaster is a tool that helps with that. By using it you strengthen hand and forearm muscles, so vibrations from the racquet don’t go straight into your elbow.
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website TennisIsland.us. He is also an author of Enjoy Tennis Blog. Marcin has been working with USTA, Top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. Currently he is working with Top 200 ITF female junior. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.
I have used 3 of these religiously over the years..the jump rope, resistance bands and the gripmasters. I do some push ups and free dumbbell weights for my arms, and also play golf. Since I have a one handed backhand, doing these activities prevents me from having one arm bigger than the other, a la Rod Laver et al from the 60’s and 70’s when there were very few 2-handed backhanders. Look forward to Marcin Bieniek’s posts in the future.
Very useful article – I use a jump rope, TRX, resistance bands and do wrist and forearm strengthening exercises (though had not heard of a gripmaster – will check it out). Perhaps future articles can focus on explaining a few key exercises to do with each? The one thing I am missing and keep meaning to buy/use are foam rolls and this article has prompted to go out now and buy one! So thanks for that! 🙂
I’m glad you like Marcin’s first post. I’m also looking forward to his monthly contributions.
Helen, I’ll have your suggestion in mind for future posts! 🙂
I used all of the things mentioned above except for the foam roller. I would like to try it soon!
I think it’s very important to have good instruction with the TRX. I took a class at my local fitness center and ended up with an inflamed rotator cuff. I actually loved the class but haven’t been back out of fear of a repeat.